Advance Notice: Briefs

Updated: Blue Lakes Fire in the northern Lower Peninsula is now 75% contained

By: - May 16, 2022 8:45 am

Aerial look at the Blue Lakes Fire | Michigan DNR

Updated, 4:12 p.m., 5/16/22

Firefighters continue to battle a wildfire in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula, which, as of Monday, is about 75% contained.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports its fire crews, along with local partners, continued to connect remaining containment line gaps in wet, low-lying areas in Montmorency and Cheboygan counties. The Blue Lakes Fire, which is believed to have been started by a lightning strike on Wednesday, is currently estimated at 2,710 acres. 

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Tim Webb, a DNR spokesman, said that crews were pulled off fire lines temporarily Saturday afternoon due to lightning risk.

“Although northeast Michigan had widespread rain Saturday afternoon, little fell in the fire area,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for a lightning strike to smolder for several days until surface fuels dry out enough to ignite and allow the fire to spread.”

Some closed roads in the fire area also have been reopened, said Kerry Heckman, DNR fire spokesperson.

The fire was reported early Friday afternoon when a DNR conservation officer escorted a group of kayakers on the Black River within the fire area to safety. The fire destroyed an outbuilding and damaged a privately owned vehicle.

The fire risk remains high to very high in much of northern Michigan, which has prevented the DNR from conducting prescribed burns over the past week. However, no burn permits have been issued and authorities ask that before anyone in the region conducts an open burn they go online to

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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.